This Christmas was a very special one for our family. It was on my heart to take our kids on an outreach because I want them to grow up in a lifestyle of the ministry of compassion and sharing God’s love with others who need it. I also really wanted them to see again how blessed they are. I want them to know that they are no longer poor or orphaned and that there are many more people in the world who are worse off than they are. I think many Christian families want to instill this understanding in their children.
We were so blessed to have our friend and Lady Bulldogs Union University's Basketball Coach, Katie Woodruff with us during our Christmas season. She was such a blessing and was always up for anything. We had planned a trip to the children’s hospital here but due to a delay in the arrival of the supplies and gifts we were taking, we changed our plans. God always has a plan bigger than we expect. So we decided to take Christmas and the love of Jesus to the slums.
We loaded up a van we rented with about 15 people and hit the road.
We took beanie babies and tshirts and other small toys like cars and small balls. We also took Bibles. Luganda Bibles, English Bibles, and children’s Bibles to pass out along the way. We didn’t know where to start or what to do really. It was raining so everyone was inside their houses. My previous trips to the slums have been people gathering outside and we worship and give out clothing but this one was very different due to the rain. We ended up just having to knock on people’s doors to enter their houses. The very first door we knocked on had a hallway path of sorts that led us back to the main part of the house. Though the picture that gives you in your mind is probably not accurate. The hallway has two walls on each side, the floor is filled with rainwater and mud, a few rags and such wet and covered in mud, as well as a pan full of sewage. That picture is more accurate. We had to be careful not to fall walking back and the stench was pretty outrageous. One of the girls turned around, looked up at me with a big smile and said jokingly, “auntie becky, that is perfume.”
We entered the home to find one average sized bedroom full of bunk beds. There was an old lady sitting down with a giant pile of stuff all around her. She was cooking and preparing tea. Above her were about 10 children around the ages of 5-7 with their legs hanging out through the bunk bed in a row. They were bright eyed and expectant. There were also two babies and some older children. In total, there were 23 children living in the one room along with a grandmother and her elderly brother. Here's a shot of all of us together in the room as many could fit in the picture!
The smell was pretty intense but I was so overjoyed that God had led us there to really notice the smell. Roaches were everywhere and I swear I saw a small mouse scurry across the floor. We began by greeting everyone and learning a few names. We found out that this was a Christian family who loved Jesus so we praised God together accompanied by our guitar that we brought along. Then we shared with them that they are not orphans but adopted by their heavenly Father, the King of Kings and he sent us there to shower them with blessings… The first gift we gave was to the Jaja (the Luganda word for grandma). She had a small English Bible but she didn’t speak a word of English so we blessed her with a Luganda Bible. She was truly overjoyed and it was so precious to see. The boys immediately asked for toy cars. I was amazed that we had brought some along and gladly passed them out. I gave each gift to one of our children and they were the ones who gave them out to the other children. I think it really opened their eyes and gave them joy to now be blessed to be a blessing. We also gave every child and adult beanie babies and most of them received brand new tshirts. We also left them with some children’s books and children’s Bibles. It was a true Christmas celebration. Passing out gifts and the children with their beanies, stickers, and tshirts!
We prayed for healing for all of those who were sick and one of the babies looked very unhealthy to me. I have seen HIV babies before so I thought that might be his case by looking at him. I asked if we could take him overnight and bring him back the next day after seeing a doctor but they didn’t want us to take him overnight. SO I asked if we could come back on Monday to visit again and just take him for the day along with the oldest girl in the home who was about 18. They agreed. So we planned to come back…. (See part 2 for that part of the story!) ☺
After spending Christmas with this family and shining light into their dark small house…I was so amazed that God would lead us to these children. There’s no where else I would have rather been at that moment. I’m not sure if they were happier or I was happier…I honestly remember thinking that as we left. Who was more excited? Me or them? Haha. God is so good and so faithful to provide for His children.
The second half of our outreach was evangelism. We preached to many people in the slums encouraging them to come to salvation and attend the church there. Most of them were muslims. We weren’t sure if some of them only wanted to be prayed for so that they could receive a Bible and then sell it for money and to eat…
The Ugandans who were with us helped us to discern who really truly wanted salvation and who was just wanted to get a Bible. So about 10 people were led to Jesus that day and we gave out both Luganda and English Bibles to them. Some of them we asked if they could share a Bible. A lady who was led to salvation. She had a problem with alcohol.
We then attempted to pass out the remainder of the toys we had brought, beanie babies and other small toys. There were about 6 kids standing around. But by the time we gave the 6th child a toy, Katie got mobbed by many children pulling and grabbing at her. I knew that would happen but hoped it wouldn’t. We passed out the rest and quickly got out of dodge. It was the end of our time there for that day.
My heart these days is that I really can’t get enough. The ministry which God has given me is so wonderful and such a blessing. But nothing will ever be enough for me. I will always want to go lower and to go deeper into serving those who are suffering. ..into serving the poor, the sick, the lame, the unsaved, the broken, the hidden, the forgotten, the lonely, the orphaned. I pray that God will continue to allow me to go to deeper and darker places to shine His light…because it is there that I commune with Him. It is there that I feel close to Him. It is there that I feel alive and beautiful and like His bride. The secret place and the prayer closet I cry before Him and feel Him romance me…but when I am ministering to the broken…its almost as though I am with Him tangibly. Jesus is the hungry to be fed, the orphan to be taken in, the thirsty to be given drink, the sick to be prayed for and taken care of, He is the broken and the least of these. Send me out God. Let’s go deeper. Merry Christmas. Part 2 coming soon!!!